Poll: Will The Clippers Make The Playoffs?

If the 2018/19 NBA season ended today, six of the eight postseason teams in the West would be clubs widely expected to finish in the top eight in the conference coming into the year — the Warriors, Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets, Thunder, and Trail Blazers. However, the other two teams in the playoff picture in the Western Conference are a little more surprising.

On Thursday, we asked for your thoughts on one those two teams – the Grizzlies – and today we’re shifting our focus to the other one: the Clippers.

With the regular season nearly at its one-quarter mark, the Clippers are currently tied with the Thunder at 11-6 for third in the West. Viewed as a borderline playoff contender entering the season, the Clips have had success so far despite not having a bona fide star on their roster.

Tobias Harris is the closest thing Los Angeles has to an All-Star, and he’s off to a great start in 2018/19, averaging 21.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG with a scorching-hot .519/.444/.810 shooting line. Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams have chipped in more than 18 points per game apiece, Montrezl Harrell (15.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.8 BPG) is enjoying a breakout year, and lottery pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having an immediate impact on both ends of the court.

While the Clippers’ playing style is epitomized by hard-nosed defenders like Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley, the team also has a top-five offensive rating. The Clippers don’t shoot a ton of threes, ranking 28th in attempts, but they have the second-best three-point percentage in the NBA, and have a knack for getting to the foul line — they rank second in the league in both free throws made and free-throw percentage.

Staying healthy will be a concern for Gallinari, who hasn’t played more than 63 games in a season since 2012/13, but this Clippers roster is deep and could withstand the loss of a rotation player or two. The team also has the assets and flexibility necessary to make a trade or two in the coming months.

Still, with star-heavy clubs like the Pelicans, Spurs, and Jazz expected to push their way into the postseason conversation at some point, the Clippers will face a season-long challenge to hang onto a playoff spot.

What do you think? Will the Clippers exceed expectations and earn a place in the postseason, or will they eventually fall back and finish in the lottery? Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts.

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